As the fodder crisis escalates, two Co Galway teenagers have added their voices to groups urging farmers to discuss feelings of depression and isolation.
John Duignan and Cathal Moran, both 17, have been raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing amongst farmers in the Glenamaddy area.
The Co Galway teens urging farmers to reach out during the fodder crisis. pic.twitter.com/mNl8WOTvYN— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 6, 2018
"There's a lot of stress with farming, especially now with the fodder crisis. It can be hard to cope. They need somebody to talk to," said Cathal.
The Glenamaddy Community School pupils' interest in mental health issues was sparked after they were selected as one of the finalists in the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition.
The pair have set up talks and discussion groups for local farmers to share their problems and stresses of farming life with others.
"It’s a great way to get lads back into the community. We tackle the most pressing topics in agriculture today. Fodder, finances, Brexit and rural Ireland as a whole."
Earlier this week Macra na Feirme urged farmers to speak to a friend or neighbour to help each other through the current crisis.
Macra na Feirme National President James Healy said: "The amount of stress, anxiety and worry in the farming profession is enormous.
"Farmers are responsible for so much but cannot control the weather and it’s important to remember that you are not alone at this time.
"I would encourage farmers to talk to someone to ease that burden on your mind, the crisis won’t disappear but talking about it will help you to realise that in the coming days and weeks conditions will improve.
"Whether it’s family, a doctor, friend or a regular visitor to the farm such as a vet, talk about any stress you may be feeling at this time.!